Juniors augment their classroom learning of U.S. history

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Junior Nick Johnson poses with Henrietta Lacks' grandson, Ron Lacks.

While other students were getting ready to go to their first period classes on May 21, juniors boarded charter buses to go on Humanities II field trips. These trips were designed to supplement students’ yearlong study of U.S. history.

Most students went to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials, including those commemorating the Vietnam War, Korean War and World War II.

“I really enjoyed that we were able to learn about the events we had studied in the classroom in a new way,” junior Andrew Eu said.

Students participated in guided tours, scavenger hunts and other assignments at the sites. The main attraction for many of the classes was the National Portrait Gallery.

“There were a lot of presidents that you don’t see a lot in paintings, like the Bushes and Clinton,” junior Lucia Lee said. “FDR’s was pretty interesting because you could press a button and hear his fireside chats.”

The classes of AP U.S. History teacher Amanda Hurowitz visited Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore as part of the One Question Initiative. Hurowitz planned the trip with English 11 teachers Milde Waterfall and Suzette Henry.

“We had mentioned the idea of taking students to Johns Hopkins to Dr. Glazer, and he put us in touch with some of the folks there,” Hurowitz said.

Students attended presentations about bioethics and discussed the One Question book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” with Ron Lacks, the grandson of Henrietta Lacks.

“Meeting Ron Lacks gave us a personal connection to the book,” junior Crystel Calderon said. “The bioethics presentation also helped clarify what human research and tissue donation entails.”

Although juniors visit D.C. every year, Hurowitz is open to taking her students back to Baltimore in the future.

“John’s Hopkins was gracious. They fed us, showed us labs and got really great speakers,” Hurowitz said. “It all depends on our students and their interest.”